Monday, 21 November 2011

Creative inspiration.....

Last weekend was the gingerbread house competition, with the amazing creations on display at the Rideau Centre.

Well, I'm guessing they were amazing. I stumbled on this by happenstance two years ago and found beauties like this smartie-extravaganza:

Since then, I have missed the show, finding details of it two days after the masterpieces have been packed up - AGH!
So last night I decided to pay tribute to the event, using the 'build your own gingerbread house kit' B bought us a year or so ago, that had languished in the cupboard.

Step one - improve the structure of the walls by soaking in tea:

Step two - lighten the walls by removing large bite size chunks.

Step three - erm.....erm......enjoy?!

Ho hum.....turns out a gingerbread house won't stand up with only three walls......or only two.....lesson learned. x

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Busy busy.

No time for naps this week - a sorry state of affairs.
Monday - birthday celebrations for a friend - pizza, hoorah!
Tuesday - babysitting.More delightful Mary Poppins melodies.
Wednesday - coffee and putting the world to rights with a new friend.
Thursday - Bruce Peninsula at raw Sugar - fabtastic.
Friday - bed by 9:30pm - shattered!

Thought we'd lined up a quiet week to follow but something seems to have gone awry with that plan. It is all fun though (with luck) so no complaints......but if you see me snoring leant against a lamppost somewhere - leave me be!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Learning curves.

I've been making progress in my classes in the last couple of weeks. For those of you who don't know, I am currently one week into a four Sunday weaving course, and 3ish weeks into my learn to ice-skate course.

Lets tackle the weaving first.

I've had a loom for 18 months or so now. I bought it on impulse at an estate sale, $40 for the loom, various homemade wooden contraptions and far too much scratchy acrylic yarn that the agent insisted I take too. The whole lot has been resident in the craft room since then, looking intriguing and taking up far too much room.
Whilst at the weaving and spinning sale a fortnight ago, I signed up for a course at last. And here is my progress after the first lesson:

Pretty impressive isn't it? Well I'm very fond of it anyway. Turns out I got one hell of a bargain, even if I did then let it gather dust for far too long. This Sunday we're sampling some more patterns and talking about colour combinations. If you've seen my wardrobe you'd realise how useful this may be!

Now the skating is more of an ongoing project. To fully understand and appreciate my breakthrough today, you really have to have been on the ice with me before. I am a wreck. A squealing, girly, shaky wreck. Who doesn't move anywhere.
As I have explained to my well meaning friends, it isn't the falling over that scares me - I stumble and trip so regularly without the aid of blades that I'm pretty used to this. It is the gliding I have an issue with - yes, actually skating. As soon as my feet make any kind of slidy motion, the screams start and I quit. Pathetic.

This week our teacher didn't turn up (maybe I should have tried this approach more when I taught!). I forced myself onto the ice anyway and decided that this week I was going to move on the ice - without holding on to the side barriers. And somehow that decision was all it took. By the end of the lesson I was gliding (albeit in short stuttery bursts) across the ice - out into no mans land, all the way to the other side. My knees were wobbly, my breathing ridiculously erratic. Bizarrely I was humming hits of Madonna to distract myself - but I made it! There were squeals again - of joy! So so proud of myself, I gave myself a moment to relish my victory, breathing deeply and relaxing again.

And that's when I fell over. Flat on my back, giggling my head off.

The man in charge of ice-care kindly took this piccie for me, just to record the day for posterity. Check out that sexy helmet!

Lets hope I make as much progress next week, I'll be spinning and jumping before we know it!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Walking....and walking some more

Since my return from England I've been challenging myself to walk more, partly in an effort to get a little fitter before skating and skiing season is upon us once again, and partly to ensure I get into good habits before the weather turns. Originally I planned to walk 500 miles in 100 days......."I will walk 500 miles and i will walk 500 more" as the song goes. Now even the less mathematically gifted among you will realise that this is an average of 5 miles a day.

Two weeks in and I'm averaging 7 a day - yes, finally a personal challenge where I am ahead of the game! And on Monday this week I really pushed the boat out, clocking up 14 miles throughout the day.

First 2.5 miles with Paul and the dog, enjoying a beautiful sunrise:

Then a fair whack of it was up and down by the river enjoying the sunshine. Now, my internal jukebox seemed to be set again to random, and also seemed to be less 'internal' more 'sing along out loud and hope no-one jogs too close by'.  Two year old N provided judgement over the 'tunes' as follows:

Hits of Take That - big no no. There were whines and general sounds of discomfort. As I could only remember one verse of Never Forget this was probably for the best.

Songs from the musicals, in particular Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins - more popular. Not sure whether this is because I knew more of the words or because I'd bribed him with a bottle and he was a bit distracted. I don't think many people can resist my medley of 'Truly Scrumptious' and 'Fly a Kite' though......not that many have witnessed it!

The Stone Roses - I wanna be adored. By far the most popular, maybe I sing it like a lullaby (?). Maybe he was eating biscuits. Who knows?!

 That took care of another 5 miles, and the others? The walk too and fro from work and another dog walk in the evening. That is over a half marathon, all be it in bitesize chunks. Lets hope I can keep this up when the snow arrives. For now I'm happy soaking up the sunshine and blue skies.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A weekend of fun....

Busy busy, but so much fun.
Started with a walk with in the morning sunshine, Ottawa really is beautiful at this time of year:

Followed by a day of crafting with friends. There were sewing machines, scissors, buttons, fabric, Halloween shaped ginger cookies and soup - whats not to enjoy?! Sadly I got caught up in the crafting so failed to take any piccies. Here's one of my finished purse though, along with the one my sister made me from the same pattern (hers is the neater one with the whales on it!).

NB. For future sewing projects, I advise checking the pattern pieces carefully before beginning. We had two sets - one printed in England and one here, which of course means that they were slightly different sizes. Sadly we failed to notice this until the end of our projects, it went a long way to explaining the mismatched sized fabric pieces we'd cut during the day. At one stage my project looked like I'd been hitting the sherry!

And after crafting? Sushi and hockey - hoorah! Off to see the Senators play the Buffalo Sabres. A close match ending in a penalty shoot out which sadly the Sens lost out in, but hey, it was a good night anyway - made all the better as my companion chose (without nagging or pressure from me!) to wear his fish hat throughout:

 It is always gratifying to see your handiwork worn with pride!

And so on to Sunday, another beautiful day - I'm sure winter is lurking somewhere, and the snow will definitely be fun when it does arrive, but I am loving the autumnal days in the meantime. Off to the Weavers' and spinners' guild annual sale, to fondle pretty yarn and gain inspiration from others handiwork....I was particularly fond of this needle-felted giraffe:

I managed to refrain from adding to the yarn stash (shocking!), but have signed up for a beginners weaving course starting this Sunday. Hopefully going to add another string to my crafting bow - and at last make use of last years loom purchase.

To end such a fab weekend? The return of P, who arrived home laden with apple pie. He's a good boy!